Back ‘o Bourke

Part of the outer facade of the motel

Part of the outer facade of the motel

It’s an old Australian saying. Back o’ Bourke there isn’t much. You’re right out in the scrub, beyond all hope of redemption. But as it happens, that’s not how it worked out for us.

We decided to head for home once we arrived at Port Augusta, which meant we avoided the south east corner of Australia altogether. Well, we’d been there, done that, and we’d been away from home for a while now. So we drove by day, stayed in motels by night, up through Broken Hill and on to the Mitchell Highway, which would lead us to Charleville, then home.

On the road we encountered the Darling River. It’s the second half of the Murray-Darling system that flows down from Queensland, forms the border between Victoria and New South Wales and flows into the sea at South Australia. It’s Australia’s largest and most important river system, providing irrigation and transport to the south-east corner for a couple of centuries, Even now, the Murray supplies Adelaide with its drinking water. Mind you, Adelaide has the reputation for having the very worst drinking water in Australia – but that’s another story.

I would not have imagined that river traffic would have come so far inland, but it did. We decided to stop overnight at Bourke, which is on the Darling River and had its own riverboat port. This time, instead of staying in a typical traveller’s motel on the highway, we booked into a place which was renovated buildings dating back to the nineteenth century. The owners had done a wonderful job or renovating a row of old shops and cottages and making them into self-contained motel units with a heap of character. Here are a few pictures.

The toilet is hidden behind a screen

The toilet is hidden behind a screen

An old fashioned bath with a modern shower fixture

An old fashioned bath with a modern shower fixture

Beautifully renovated and furnished

Beautifully renovated and furnished

A four poster bed

A four poster bed

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The bath and shower were olde worlde, the toilet cubicle was only for best friends. The TV and modern tea and coffee making equipment was hidden in the cupboards. All in all, it was lovely, the buildings set in lovely gardens overlooking the Darling. The old river port was a few hundred metres away. I watched the sunset, hoping to see the birds go to bed. But this is the best I could do.

A pink and grey galah flies off above the river

A pink and grey galah flies off above the river